Every year the Academy Awards brings to light films that I otherwise would have never seen and more often than not, it is in the Best Foreign Feature category that I discover these amazing films. Most notably, I remember seeing “Dogtooth” (2009) and being absolutely blown away by how much I loved the film. This year, three foreign films have blown me away. First, “The Broken Circle Breakdown” captivated me with its heartbreaking story and striking visuals. Then, “The Hunt” left me more frustrated than I’d ever been during a film in the best possible ways, cheering on a character that is wrongfully accused yet suffers the consequences. And now, “Omar”, a Palestinian love story between a young man and his best friend’s sister. Divided by an enormous wall, Omar traverses it on a daily basis to see Nadia, his love interest, and Tarek, her brother and his childhood best friend. But in occupied Palestine, the childhood friends seek vengeance and kill a soldier to which Omar is caught and tortured. What follows is an unexpected twisting of events with lies and deceit taking a front seat to whatever revolt was once in the works. With the love story front and center and never taking the easy way out, the lies and twists and turns carry on until the last scene of the film. “Omar” blew me away and revivals anything that Hollywood is putting out these days, in terms of political thrillers and love stories. The actors are mostly first timers and completely grasp their characters, especially Adam Bakri as Omar and Iyad Hoorani as Tarek, who knock their roles out of the park, but it’s the unbelievably and naturally gorgeous Nadia played by Leem Lubany that steals the show. If there’s one person that I would carries on a career in acting, it’s her. “Omar” may not be a favorite to win, with that belonging to “The Great Beauty” and maybe even “The Broken Circle Breakdown”, of all the films I’ve seen for the Oscars this year, “Omar” will remain one of my favorites. This is Hany Abu-Assad’s second nomination following his 2005 nomination for “Paradise Now”.
// Produced by Hany Abu-Assad, Waleed Zuaiter, and David Gerson // Directed by Hany Abu-Assad //
// Dated Viewed: Saturday, February 22nd, 2014 // AMC Burbank 8 // 7 films – 9 days //